In 2016, a television version of Lethal Weapon began airing on Fox starring a relative unknown Clayne Crawford and one of my favorite childhood comedians Damon Wayans. This sounded like a horrible idea. How could anyone replace or replicate the chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover and to be honest, why risk tainting the Lethal Weapon name? I dismissed this as another poorly though out cash grab, like the TV versions of Taken and Rush Hour, and went about my business.
After the first episode aired, I saw it pop up on Hulu and I decided to watch the first ten minutes of it, so I could trash it and not feel so bad about trashing it. That first ten minutes was great and the next thing I knew the credits were rolling and I wanted more Lethal Weapon.
Lethal Weapon became one of the few TV shows I anxiously awaited every week. It had a nice balance of action and comedy, and it never took itself too seriously. The first few episodes had some outrageous action sequences, but they were toned down which I think helped the show in the long run.
The first season of Lethal Weapon was amazing. It’s by far one of my favorite TV show seasons. And season two started off quite strong. But about halfway through the season, you stopped seeing Riggs and Murtaugh on screen together as much. And then rumors of chaos behind the scenes started popping up. At first glance it sounded like Clayne Crawford was out of control and an ego maniac. He was forced to undergo anger management and made to publically apologize. Then Fox fired him, at the behest of Damon Wayans who was leading the complaints.
It was ugly and I stopped watching and just waited for all the drama to calm down. Fox brought in Sean William Scott as a new partner for Damon Wayans and a third season was shot. Well, part of it was shot, because halfway thru Damon Wayans quit the show, and it was cancelled shortly thereafter.
I’ve skimmed over much of the drama, but it was by far one of the most disappointing Hollywood stories I’ve heard. I liked Damon Wayans, and always have, but it turns out he’s a diva and a master manipulator. Clayne Crawford, who stole the show, was fired and had his name drug through the mud for no reason other than to appease Wayans who turned around and quit on the show anyway. I really wish they would have recast Wayans and kept the show running, because it was very good.
I recently tried to go back and finish up season two and maybe give season three a chance, but it’s a struggle. I know what’s going to happen and its frustrating rooting for Murtaugh when I know what a jerk Wayans is.
I hope I can make my way through it eventually, because I really do want to soak as much joy out of Lethal Weapon that I can. It was such a great adaptation and it truly is a shame that it ended the way that it did.
There are rumors that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are gearing up for Lethal Weapon 5. Danny Glover is definitely too old for that shirt, but I’ll watch it!